The offseason is officially here and the signing period for NHL free agents begins on Friday.
With that in mind we wanted to use this week’s NHL Power Rankings as an opportunity to look at the top unrestricted free agents that are set to hit the open market.
Who else makes the list this week of the top NHL free agents?
To the rankings!
1. Alex Pietrangelo. There is always a risk with signing a top free agent that has already celebrated their 30th birthday, but Pietrangelo remains a top-pairing defenseman and can still make a huge impact on any team over the next few years. Shutdown defender and elite scorer from the blue line. [Signed seven-year, $61.6M deal with Golden Knights.]
2. Taylor Hall. He has to have a contender in his sights, right? He may not produce at his MVP level from 2018 again, but he is still one of the league’s best offensive wingers and the closest thing to a game-changing forward on the open market. [Signed one-year, $8 million deal with Sabres]
3. Torey Krug. He is going to command a nice chunk of money, and he will deserve it. He makes a huge impact on the power play, is a big-time point producer from the blue line, and has posted dominant possession numbers throughout his career. [Signed seven-year, $45.5M deal with Blues.]
4. Jacob Markstrom. He may not steal a lot of games, but he will not lose many, either. He has become extremely consistent, durable and one of the most underrated goalies in the league. A major reason for the Canucks taking a step forward this season. [Signed six-year, $36M deal with Flames.]
5. Tyler Toffoli. Given his skillset and possession numbers, Toffoli always seemed like a player that was getting wasted in Los Angeles. We saw a little glimpse of what he is capable of in a more up-tempo system in Vancouver, and it was encouraging (14 points in 17 games, including playoffs). [Signed four-year, $17M deal with Canadiens.]
6. Evgenii Dadonov. Since returning to the NHL three years ago Dadonov has emerged as a very productive top-six forward that is going to give you 25 goals and 50 points. Age is a little concern, but on a three-or four-year deal you might get a really productive player.
7. Mike Hoffman. One of the other big NHL free agents coming out of Florida, Hoffman is a 30-goal winger that is going to give you a lot offensively. The question is how much can he give you when he is not scoring goals, and how much that is worth?
8. Henrik Lundqvist. I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly optimistic here, but I think he some goalie-needy contender is going to sign him and get a very motivated player that still wants to chase a championship. Maybe he’s not a 60-game goalie anymore, but on the right team and behind a better defense than what he had in New York he can still contribute a lot. [Signed one-year, $1.5M deal with Capitals.]
9. T.J. Brodie. Little bit of a decline this season offensively, but his underlying numbers from a possession and scoring chance perspective remained strong. He’s still a top-four defenseman on a good team. [Signed four-year, $20M deal with Maple Leafs.]
10. Kevin Shattenkirk. He was an outstanding fit in Tampa in a complementary role where he did not have to be “the guy” on defense. Maybe he’s not the No. 1 or 2 that Washington and New York thought he was in recent years, but he is definitely a contributor and can be a big part of a championship team. [Signed three-year, $11.7M deal with Ducks.]
11. Craig Smith. He has scored at a 20-goal pace in six of the past seven seasons and consistently posted a shot attempt share of better than 53 percent. Not a superstar, but a really good middle-six player assuming his next contract does not carry too much term. [Signed three-year, $9.3M deal with Bruins.]
12. Tyson Barrie. I don’t know that his one season in Toronto was as bad as the critics will tell you that it was. I do think he is this offseason’s Shattenkirk — player that failed to meet expectations in his previous stop, had his value sink, and will get signed to a cheaper contract and excel in a more appropriate role. [Signed one-years, $3.75M deal with Oilers.]
13. Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has been an outstanding goalie the past two years with the Stars and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final this postseason. His age, as well as his limited experience as a full-time starter are the two big question marks. [Signed three-year, $10M deal with Stars.]
14. Justin Williams. I hesitate to put him on the list because it seems like another Carolina-or-bust sort of deal, but he is technically an unrestricted free agent and he is still a really good player on both sides of the puck. [Announced his retirement.]
15. Corey Crawford. If he is healthy he can still be a really good player. But health has been a big concern for him in recent years. Combined with his age that makes him a huge wild card. [Signed two-year, $7.8M deal with Devils.]
16. Braden Holtby. How can one of the best goalies of his era be so low? Well, he has not been particularly good the past two seasons and he is probably going to get a significant contract. [Signed two-year, $8.6M deal with Canucks.]
17. Mikael Granlund. For whatever reason he just did not seem to be a fit in Nashville and that trade never really worked out the way they probably hoped it would. He is only 28 so it is possible he bounces back in a new environment with different talent around him.
18. Tyler Ennis. He had a really good bounce-back year offensively between Ottawa and Edmonton and could be a useful depth addition in the right situation. [Signed one-year, $1M deal with Oilers.]
19. Mikko Koivu. His offense looks like it might be gone, but he can still play a good two-way game and bring some strong defensive play to the bottom-six of a contender. [Signed one-year, $1.5M deal with Blue Jackets.]
20. Carl Soderberg. Probably more productive than you realize offensively (he will give you close to 20 goals and 40 points), but he is going to be 35 years old this season. How much longer will he give you that level of offense?
21. Joe Thornton. Would he leave San Jose? He was willing to at the trade deadline, and it might be his only shot at getting the Stanley Cup now. He is a third-or fourth-line center at this point, but he could still bring a lot of value there.
22. Patrick Maroon. Two years, two different teams, two Stanley Cups. Can he make it a personal three-peat somewhere? [Signed two-year, $1.8M deal with Lightning.]
23. Erik Gustafsson. A good power play specialist and someone that can bring some offense to your blue line. Needs to be sheltered in the correct role. [Signed one-year, $3M deal with Flyers.]